Duke Fuqua is back with the same prompts as last year, and these prompts are something of a sleeper threat.
The first thing to watch out for is the two-page length limit. Because most application essay length limits are based on word count, we find that many applicants underestimate just how much writing can fit on those two pages (with 1.5-line spacing and a font size no smaller than 10-point). Fuqua has one of the longest MBA applications among top U.S. business schools, if not the longest. So be sure to schedule enough writing time.
The good news is that the topics themselves are a lot of fun, particularly the “25 random things about yourself.” This prompt doesn’t seem to require much high-level structural thinking, but that’s a bit of a trap because you need to think VERY strategically about what those 25 random things say about you. So “red is my favorite color” is random, but not fun or meaningful. “Red is my favorite color, that’s why I drive a red 1975 Gremlin” is random and fun, but not meaningful. “Red is my favorite color because I am a socialist” is random and meaningful, but not fun. “I drive a red 1975 Gremlin with a horn that plays ‘The Internationale’ to raise class consciousness and foment proletarian revolution wherever I go”–now we have a random fact that both has a sense of fun and says a LOT about who this person is!
We have more guidance on all the prompts here: Duke Fuqua Essay Analysis 2018-19.